Extensive Decay in a six year old

There is extensive decay in my six year old’s mouth. He needs six teeth worked on that have deep cavities. It has gotten to the point that it is painful for him to eat. I’m assuming he’ll need some root canal treatments as well. The problem I have is no matter what dentist I bring him to, he throws too much of a fit for them to do any work on him. What do you recommend?

BreeAnn- Utah


You need to look for a pediatric dentist who also does sedation dentistry. The sedation will keep your child from panicking and allow the dentist to do the necessary work.

You also need to do something much more difficult. The way a child of six gets that much decay is from frequent eating. You are going to have to say no to your child’s snacking. Get him to not eat for 3-4 hours in a row so that he’ll be thoroughly hungry and eat sufficiently to not need to snack so much.

This blog is brought to you by Pediatric Dentist Dr. Hilary Peck.

What is a pulpotomy?

I’ve been told my daughter needs a pulpotomy, but I’m unclear what it is. I know it has to do with her infected tooth, but its just a baby tooth so won’t it fall out anyway?

Serina- Detroit, MI


Think of a pupotomy as a root canal for baby teeth. With this procedure, most of the pulp of the baby tooth is removed. Then the tissue inside the roots is daubed with a disinfectant. The tooth is then sealed and covered with crown. Unless you’re talking about a molar, it is unnecessary.

I know that her teeth are falling out anyway, but you want to keep her molars until she is about 10 or 12 years old, when her adult molars come in. If you don’t her teeth will become bunched together.

There is an alternative treatment of extracting her tooth and placing a space maintainer.

You may be interested in reading about pediatric dentistry.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hilary Peck.

Why am I drooling?

I recently got a snake bite piercing. Since then I’ve been drooling like nuts. Is this from the piercing? I’ve never drooled before.

Kevin B.- Pine Bluff, AR


It is very likely the drooling is a result of the snake bite piercing. Here’s why. Any type of oral piercing will stimulate your salivary glands. This can lead to excessive drooling. This is a common risk factor with oral piercings.

You may also want to look out for some of these other possible risk factors:

  • Tooth & Gum Irritations: Depending on the positioning of the piercing, it could wear down the enamel on your teeth. You will also need to be proactive with your oral hygiene because if it rubs against your gums it will not only cause irritation, but could lead to gum recession and periodontal disease.
  • Bacterial Infections: Though inflammation is normal after an oral piercing, it should go down within a few days. If it doesn’t,  you need to be seen by a doctor. The ADA (American Dental Association) have documented an increased risk for bacterial infections in those with oral piercings. It is not just from transference during the procedure, but rather because our mouths are loaded with bacteria.  When you introduce a new open area, you increase the opportunities for the bacteria to spread.
  • Allergic reaction: Many people are allergic to various types of metals. If you’re having any type of reaction such as itching, redness, burning, swelling, or rash, see your doctor immediately. Allergies are serious and need to be dealt with.
  • Speech impediments: If the piercing keeps you from closing your lips completely,that will lead to speech impediments.
You may also be interested in learning about porcelain crowns.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Emergency Dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.


Dental Dam

My dentist always uses something called a Dental Dam when he does root canals and fillings. I don’t like how it feels. Can you tell me what its used for?

Anne G.- Ft. Worth, TX


Sure. A dental dam, also called rubber dam, are designed to keep your tooth dry for procedures like root canals and sometimes composite fillings. The purpose for it is to protect your tooth from saliva. Our saliva has bacteria in it that can increase the chance of your tooth getting reinfected after your root canal procedure. It is also useful for keeping your tongue out of the way as well as keeping dental material and water out of your throat during the procedure. This helps people with a strong gag reflex.

Some dentists will use it when doing white (composite fillings) also because if the tooth doesn’t stay dry, the material won’t bond properly to your tooth. I would discuss with your dentist how you feel about the dam and see if you can work out a mutually beneficial solution.

You may also be interested in learning about Mercury-free dentistry.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.